Ashley Neese

June 01, 2014

Last month, I had the opportunity to chat with Ashley Neese, a Los Angeles based holistic nutrition consultant. We first crossed paths when I asked her to be a Lovely Lady. She is beautiful, positive, and encouraging in every way. She is passionate about holistic living and wants to inspire from a heart, mind, and body perspective.

During our sixty minute one-on-one session ( via video-chat ), we examined my current life status, discussed healthy improvements to my overall diet, and considered removing obstacles that leave me feeling unbalanced. You’d think it would be hard to fit all of that into 60 minutes but honestly, it was the perfect amount of time! Also, since finishing the consultation, she has consistently encouraged and challenged me to meet the goals we set and to stay positive through any difficult changes I am working through.

Although, I have to say it has been a lot harder to tackle my “weaknesses” than I thought it would be ( I’m trying not to view them as weaknesses but more as unhealthy habits ) – mainly because I am so busy but also because deeply rooted habits are hard to break, right?? One of my top concerns when starting out was how to add MORE to my schedule and mental head-space while keeping my stress level down. Ashley claimed that if I have awareness and a desire to see change ( which I’d like to think I do ), that it would all fall into place more naturally than I probably anticipated. We decided that I should focus on these three areas: Food, Sleep, and Breaks/Meditation.

I won’t go into too much detail about each but I will say this – having one intentional conversation with Ashley has completely turned things around for me – for the better, of coarse! I have found focus and in turn, am seeing improvements in all areas mentioned above. I feel very lucky for the insight and encouragement I’ve received from her – as it’s given me a new found appreciation for myself and my body.

…and guess what!!? Ashley has kindly offered up one 60 minute Holistic Consultation & Recipe eBook for a giveaway! ( this giveaway has ended ) To enter, leave a comment below telling us a bit about your favorite way to take care of yourself. Then either follow Ashley on Instagram or sign up for her newsletter.

She has also put together this delicious juice, just for us. Bubba and I tried it out this past weekend during a trip to our neighborhood park. We stored them in mason jars and brought along my favorite giant boba straws for sippin* It was the perfect cool treat while lounging in the sun.

    Apple Fennel Cleanse Juice

    Ingredients ( serves 1 ) –
    2 small apples, cut, seeds removed
    1 fennel bulb with stalks and fronds
    1 medium cucumber
    1 large bunch of spinach
    Handful of fresh mint
    1/2 lime

    Method –
    Run everything except the lime through the juicer.
    Squeeze the lime juice in at the end to taste.
    Juice will keep 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge!
    Glass jars are the best.

Simply Wholesome | #06

September 24, 2012

Hello, I’m Kacie from A Collection of Passions. I’m thrilled to be here to share this recipe. Around here the root vegetables are bursting from the still-warm-from-summer-soil. I chose to prepare a delicious dish with carrots to share with you. In the fall I love roasting them in the oven with a bit of dijon and maple syrup. Roasting carrots brings out their sweetness which is enhanced with a balsamic reduction in this recipe. You can pick carrots from your garden or find them at the local farmers’ market. I used both orange and purple in the recipe but use whatever you can find that looks fresh and colorful. Happy cooking.


2 Lbs organic carrots
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbs. real maple syrup
1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar
chevre (goat cheese)
1/2 Tsp. kosher salt
1/4 Tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Wash and trim the tips and tops off your carrots. Halve smaller carrots, quarter larger carrots so they are uniform in size. Place in a large bowl.

Whip together 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Pour the marinade over the carrots. Season with the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Dump the contents of the bowl onto a large cookie sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil.

Place the carrots in a cold oven, then turn it to 425ºF. Toss and flip the carrots every 10 minutes until they are vibrant and caramelized. About 30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of maple syrup in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it has reduced to 2/3 cup. About 10 minutes.

Remove the carrots from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle the carrots with the balsamic reduction and, using your fingers to break it up, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of the goat cheese. Serve immediately with the extra balsamic reduction on the side for those who wish to add more.


Simply Wholesome | #05

August 27, 2012

Hello! I’m Megan from Fig & Fauna. Summer gives us such an extraordinary variety of simple ingredients to delight in. One of my favorite fruits this summer are Black Plums. I can’t get over the intensely dark skin and yet the inside flesh is so golden and bright. I find myself trying to incorporate these gems into nearly everything I cook! This morning, I made our usual Spelt pancakes, but the twist was juicy slices of Black Plums adorning the pancakes like summer jewels! I love to use Spelt flour because it adds a delicate nutty flavor that compliments the sweet tartness of the plums. I’d like to make a pancake for each season…persimmons for fall, oranges in the winter, berries for spring…the options are endless! Enjoy.


1 Cup Spelt flour
1 Tbsp light honey
2 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp sea salt
1 Egg, Beaten
1 Cup milk ( I used goat milk )
2 Tbsp cooking oil ( melted butter, ghee, coconut oil )
2-3 Plums, sliced thinly and halved
( makes six pancakes )

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk and oil. Now add wet ingredients to the flour. Stir until everything is moist, but do not over stir.
Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium low. Pour 1/2 cup batter on the sizzling skillet and gently place plum slices on the top of the pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until bubbles can be seen through the batter. Flip to the plum side and cook until golden brown. Serve with honey or maple syrup.


Simply Wholesome | #04

August 06, 2012

Hello everyone! I’m Erin from Naturally Ella & I am so excited that Emma invited me to share a wholesome ingredient & recipe today! I couldn’t resist sharing one of my go-to recipes based on my favorite summer produce: tomatoes. Tomatoes, especially cherry, are almost like candy to me. There is a slight sweet, earthiness to a tomato that is picked & eaten straight from the vine. The experience & flavor, for me at least, are the essence of summer. I find it hard to eat tomatoes in any other season because I feel so spoiled during the summer.

I wanted to share this amazing & simple tomato sauce. I love whipping up a batch for guest or for a few weeknight meals. The roasting pulls out extra flavor from the tomatoes and the taste is unmatched by the grocery store equivalents. I use this sauce on pasta, however, this works well as a base for pizza. If you find yourself with extra, the sauce freezes well.


2 pounds roma and/or cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion
5-6 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup basil
Juice from one lemon

8 oz pasta (I love homemade)
1/2 cup feta
Basil for topping

Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut tomatoes and onions in to wedges. Lightly whack garlic cloves with the side of a knife and remove outer shell. Toss garlic, tomatoes, and onions with two tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon honey, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast for 45-55 minutes. Tomatoes should be slightly browned. Place roasted tomatoes in a food processor along with 1/2 cup basil and lemon juice. Pulse a few times until tomatoes slightly break down. Cook pasta according to directions and once done, assemble with sauce, feta, and extra basil. *This sauce works well for lasagna, pizza, ravioli, and any other place you could use a good marinara.

Thanks Erin.


Simply Wholesome | #03

July 24, 2012

I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything for Simply Wholesome but don’t fret, it’s back and ready to blow your taste buds minds! I kicked off the yummy column with Whitney from EatSleepCuddle and am now moving on to other contributors. This month is Laure Joliet, a very talented photographer & friend of mine. We spent the afternoon combing peaches, basil, & bourbon to make the tastiest Juleps you’ve ever had.


Homemade Peach Nectar :
Select peaches that are somewhat soft to the touch and have a pretty fragrant smell. This indicates ripeness. Firm peaches won’t be ripe enough to provide the sweetness needed for a good nectar. Boil enough water in a stock pot to be able to submerge the peaches. Dip each peach into the boiling water until the skin begins to loosen. Remove from the boiling water and place in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Peel the peaches, remove the pit and cut into slices. Combine 2-3 cups sliced peaches and 1 cup water in a blender. Liquefy until smooth. Strain the liquefied peaches through a sieve. Store the nectar in a sealed jar or bottle in the refrigerator until ready to use. Note : If you want to keep the peach remnants in the drink – don’t strain it. This yields a thicker more smoothie like texture.

Simple Syrup infused with Basil :
Bring 1 cup water / 1 cup sugar / and 15 basil sprigs to a boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then let the mixture cool. Store the syrup in a sealed jar or bottle in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The Drink :
Fill cup with crushed ice ( we used one large ice cube )
Add 2 Tbsp syrup
1/4 cup of Bourbon
Stir in 5.5oz. of peach nectar
Garnish with basil sprigs & peach wedges

p.s. Of coarse you have the freedom to mix all of the ingredients to your liking / to taste!
We used less syrup and more bourbon to cut the sweetness!! Always more bourbon, duh.

Photos by : Laure Joliet

Simply Wholesome | #02

June 04, 2012

Last summer I discovered zucchini blossoms for the first time, and they have definitely become my favorite thing to get at the farmers market, by far. They only cost $1 for a bag of about 5 mini zucchini with the blossoms still attached, and I swear those pretty little flowers could really go on anything! They have a bit of a sweetness at the center, and they are especially perfect as a topping for zucchini mini quiches ( see recipe below ). This quiche is so quick & easy to make, and if you make them muffin-size you can even freeze them and re-heat later. It’s a great source of protein from the eggs, and an easy way to sneak in your veggies. Plus, if you haven’t ever tried zucchini blossoms yet, now you have the perfect reason. You will fall in love! -Whitney


You’ll need :
+ 2 Tbs. roughly chopped green onion
+ About 10 mini zucchini, chopped
+ 1 Tbs. fresh basil, finely chopped
+ 1 Tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped
+ 9-10 eggs
+ 1-2 Tbs. milk
+ Salt & Pepper
+ White cheddar cheese, grated
+ Fresh zucchini blossoms

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Sauté chopped green onion & mini zucchini in olive oil for a few minutes, then add finely chopped basil & chives and sauté for another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl with a little bit of milk, and season with salt & pepper. Grease muffin pan well. Put a layer of grated white cheddar cheese to fill the bottoms of each muffin cup, then put a spoonful of the zucchini/onion/herb mixture over the cheese in each section to spread evenly throughout. Ladle egg mixture into each muffin cup and bake at 375F degrees for 15-20 minutes ( until tops are golden brown ). Serve with fresh zucchini blossoms! ( Also goes great with avocado! )

*Makes about 12 muffin-sized quiches.

Chow down & Enjoy.

Simply Wholesome #01

May 21, 2012

I am happy to announce that Whitney Johnson of EatSleepCuddle will be gracing us with her presence for a bit. As soon as I found Whitney’s blog, I fell in love with her gorgeous photography and simple approach to eating – so it only made sense to reach out to her about teaming up for a food column! One of the things that I struggle with is eating healthy and on a small budget. We decided to dive into that struggle and share what we learn along the way. We hope to inspire you to eat more wholesome foods while keeping the piggy bank under wraps. We can’t wait to hear your feedback.

Hi everyone! I am sooo excited to be a new contributor here on Emmadime! Today I wanted to share with you a little how-to on cooking & preparing dried beans. Bit by bit I have been trying to learn more ways to include more natural “whole” foods in my diet, and using dried beans instead of canned beans definitely fits the bill! They are SO easy to make, and just take a tiny bit of planning and thinking ahead. Totally worth it, considering it is such a simple, easy way to make positive changes on your health.

The BENEFITS of using dried beans –
( instead of their canned alternative… )
01. Less preservatives
02. Less added salt/sodium
03. Less processed
04. Less expensive!
05. Less waste on the environment (sans the can)

**I also think they taste better, have a better texture, and you have more control over the flavor you want in your beans. Here’s how you do it…

01. Rinse 1 cup of dried black beans in cool water, discarding any debris or broken beans
02. Soak in 3 cups of cool water for 6-8 hours
03. Drain water
04. Put soaked beans in a pot with 3 cups of water, and any seasonings you want to add. I added granulated onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a tiny tiny bit of granulated garlic. ( don’t add the salt yet, this could slow down the cooking process )
05. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45-60 minutes. ( check periodically to stir and make sure the water has not all been absorbed yet )
06. Add fresh cilantro and season with chilli powder, salt, and pepper before serving

Now that you have your yummy Mexican-style beans, gather your favorite taco fillings and eat up…!

+ Prepared black beans
+ Roasted corn on the cob ( seasoned with cilantro, cayenne, paprika, lime )
+ Fresh salsa ( I made mine, but this is an easy one to pick up at the store )
+ Fresh cilantro
+ Cotija cheese ( cheddar or feta also work )
+ Avocado
+ Lime wedge
+ Corn tortillas ( lightly grilled/toasted in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil )

Chow Down.
Hope You Enjoy!